Has this evolution been to speedy?

From Harari’s point of view, the Cognitive and Agricultural Revolutions form the basis for our modern civilization. This Cognitive Revolution occurred 70,000 – 30,000 years ago. It started with the discovery of fire which made it possible for the Homo’s to cook food, which in the end led to the development of a larger brain (Harari, 12 -13). This new intelligence gave Homo’s many new abilities, one of them being able to transmit information about things that do not really exist, such as human rights, tribal spirits, etc., being the only species able to communicate like this. (Harari, 37)

Once the cognitive revolution passed by, around 10,000 years ago, the Agricultural Revolution began. This revolution didn’t happen at the same time all around the world. Humans began to sow seeds, water plants etc., which they thought would provide them with more meat, wheat and fruit. (Harari, 77). With this revolution the World saw a huge growth of the human population and towns and cities got created. Harari states that this was good for the quantity of humans but not for the individual people. People worked too hard and died of many diseases.

Harari mentions in the start of the book: “Homo Sapiens conquered the world thanks above all to its unique language” (Harari, 19). He explains that the way Homo Sapiens became dominant, is our ability to imagine things, spread stories and share our stories. We use our language to describe reality and new beliefs in deeper ways than, let’s say, chimpanzees, which is our closest living relative. Harari’s arguments for this are indeed true, because we have ability to cooperate effectively in large groups, then any other species. It is very fascinating to think about, but also frightening. Humans have through the years done so many terrible things, mainly because of our communication ability compared to other species. For instance, the wars that have occurred has not happened between other species. This shows that humans may not have been ready for this speedy evolution.

1 thought on “Has this evolution been to speedy?”

  1. Hello Linnea,
    I appreciate your discussion of the relationship between food and cognitive progression; the two share a strangely intertwined relationship, where better nutrition and cooking allowed us to not only maintain a healthier lifestyle, but spend less time processing food and more time developing as a species. Agriculture allowed for greater human interaction and organization, which led the way to the collaboration of early human species and domination of the animal kingdom. In this way, much of what encouraged the foundation for societal growth depended largely on food supply and consumption.
    You bring in a very interesting argument that people may not have held the capacity for this growth, as we often war and cause massive violence unheard of in other species. Our hyper-awareness of emotions makes for a bad mix with the organization presented in early civilization; maybe with a better balance of cognition and empathy we could see more success. Great post!

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